Agenda — June 4, 1997

9:30 a.m.–Meeting, Assembly Room of Wilson Library

I. Call to Order

 

II. Welcome Guests, Members of the Press

 

III. Opening Remarks

* Executive Vice Chancellor Elson Floyd

 

IV. Employee Presentations—Janet Tysinger

 

V. Approval of Minutes of the May 7, 1997 meeting

 

VI. Unfinished Business

* Formation of Task Force on Employee Volunteers in Public Schools

* Discussion: In-Range Salary Adjustment Analysis (from Compensation and Benefits)

* Invitation to Troy Green, Executive Director of SEANC, to Give Special Presentation to Forum (Second Reading)

* Invitation to Molly Broad, President-Elect of University System, to Give January Special Presentation or Spring Community Meeting Talk (Second Reading)

 

VII. New Business

* Resolution in Honor of Jane Brown, Retiring Chair of the Faculty Council (First Reading)

* Invitation to Barbara DeLon, Director of Housekeeping, to Give Special Presentation to Forum (First Reading)

* Invitation to Pete Andrews, Chair-Elect of the Faculty Council, to Give Special Presentation or (First Reading)

 

VIII. Chair’s Report (Executive Committee): Bob Schreiner

* Joint Staff Council Meeting May 29 at UNC-Greensboro

* Executive Committee Meeting with Elson Floyd, Roger Patterson Regarding University Financial Issues

* Executive Committee Commitment to Further Meetings with Division 2 Employees, Representatives

* Responses from Senator Kinnaird, Representative Insko to Address August 6, October 1 Meetings of Forum, as Requested in Forum’s December 1996 Resolution

* Five Year Reunion of Forum Representatives?

* Discount Cards from Employee Appreciation Fair; Thank-You to Employee Appreciation Fair Booth Task Force

* Response from Andi Sobbe Regarding Forum Representation on University Campaign Chair Selection Committee

* University Council

* “Relax & Chat” Bag Lunch After July 2 Forum Meeting?

* Forum Guidelines Revisions—Initial Proposals

 

IX. Committee/Task Force Reports

* Nominating—Libby Evans

* Orientation—Joyce Dalgleish/Jeffery Beam

* Personnel Policies—Peter Schledorn

=> Exempt Employees Work Schedule (Comp Time) Discussions

* Compensation and Benefits—Tommy Brickhouse

* Public Affairs—Ruth Lewter/Anne Montgomery

* Recognition and Awards— Laura Grady/Nancy Klatt

* University Committee Assignments—Anne Montgomery/Tommy Nixon

=> Nominations for Long-Range Parking & Transportation Task Force

* Career Development—Norm Loewenthal

* Employee Presentations—Janet Tysinger

=> Spring Community Meeting: June 11, 121 Hanes Hall 9-10:30 a.m.

* Employee Appreciation Fair Booth Task Force—Janet Tysinger

* Forum Officers Election Procedures Task Force—George Sharp

* University Gazette Insert Task Force

* Faculty Council Liaisons

* Partner Benefits—Peter Schledorn

* Legislative Affairs—Tom Sullivan

* Transportation and Parking Advisory Committee Representative—Janet Tysinger

* Outsourcing Team Representatives—Bennie Griffin/Ann Hamner

 

X. Human Resources Update

* Laurie Charest, Associate Vice Chancellor, Human Resources

 

XI. Announcements/Questions

 

XII. Adjournment

MINUTES

June 4, 1997

Delegates Present

Milton Anthony

Jeffery Beam

Tommy Brickhouse

Lucille Brooks

Eddie Capel

Joyce Dalgleish

Libby Evans

Betty Geer

Thomas Goodwin

Laura Grady

Bennie Griffin

Tommy Gunter

Thomas Holmes

Bettye Jones

Steve Jones

Jerry Hall

Nancy Klatt

Ruth Lewter

Norm Loewenthal

Connie McPherson

Anne Montgomery

Rosa Nolen

Jackie Overton

Archie Phillips, Jr.

Diana Saxon

Peter Schledorn

Bob Schreiner

George Sharp

Jamie Spruiell

Stephanie Stadler

Cheryl Stout

Reba Sullivan

Nancy Tannenbaum

Janet Tysinger

Chien-Hsin Wagner

Dail White

Mary Woodall

Laurie Charest”

Ann Hamner “

” = Ex-Officio

 

Delegates Absent

Nancy Atwater

Joseph Ellison

Phil Hearne

Tricia Mitchell

Tommy Nixon

Frances Rountree

Ronald Umstead

Beverly Williams

 

Alternates Present

Linda Drake

David Langham

Tom Sullivan

 

Guests

Pete Andrews

Jane Brown

Barbara DeLon

Mike Hobbs

Jerry Howerton

Ben Jones

Mitch Kokai

Ken Litowsky

Drake Maynard

Aaron Nelson

Nora Robbins

 

 

Call to Order, Welcome to Guests and Opening Remarks

Chair Bob Schreiner called the meeting to order at 9:30 a.m., asking members to sign in and to examine the routing file as it was passed around the room. He noted that Executive Vice Chancellor Elson Floyd had an unexpected commitment and thus would be unavailable to give opening remarks.

 

Employee Presentations

Janet Tysinger reported there were no Employee Presentations this month. The Chair added as there were also that there were no special presentations scheduled, this extra time would give the Forum an opportunity to explore agenda items in greater detail than is customary. He hoped that the Forum would make good use of this extra time.

 

Approval of Minutes.

The Chair called for a motion to approve the minutes of the May 7, 1997 meeting. Jackie Overton made this motion, with Anne Montgomery seconding.

The Chair asked if there was discussion of this motion. Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources Laurie Charest noted that in her comments, on page 17 of the May 7 minutes, the first sentence of the seventh full paragraph should read: “Senate Bill 299—Long-Term Care—Charest had mentioned last month that this bill was active, and that the State was examining ways to allow Employees to pay for long-term care through a State-wide plan.” Overton accepted this friendly amendment. There was no further discussion, and the minutes were approved unanimously, as amended. The Chair thanked Charest for clarifying this point.

 

Unfinished Business

Following last month’s special presentation by Pam Bailey, Volunteer Coordinator for the Chapel Hill/Carrboro Public Schools, Libby Evans proposed composing a task force to publicize opportunities for Employees to use the allotted eight hours of child involvement leave. This task force would meet through the summer with the specific goal of brainstorming and implementing ideas raised by Bailey in May in the context of University policy. Evans asked members to contact her through this month to indicate their interest in serving on the task force. She will also send out solicitations through the Forum listserv and other means. Evans hoped to draw on the broad base of Employees to compose this task force as most Delegates may find it difficult to find time for work on another committee.

Evans added that the University Gazette has offered to aid the Forum in publicizing this effort. She thanked Mike Hobbs for his assistance and urged members to speak with their co-workers about the task force.

 

The Chair noted a request for discussion of the In-Range Salary Adjustment analysis provided to the Forum by the Compensation and Benefits Committee, in cooperation with data from Human Resources. He thanked Charest, Senior Director of Human Resources Administration Drake Maynard, Senior Director for Human Resources Services Nora Robbins, Classification Analyst Jerry Howerton and Policy Director Ken Litowsky for making time to speak with the Forum about this data.

Tommy Brickhouse, Chair of the Compensation and Benefits Committee, thanked that group for working on this project in his absence. He particularly thanked Lucille Brooks and Bettye Jones for their work in leading discussions and putting together the analysis, as well as Committee members for their contributions, and Libby Evans for reformatting the data with Forum letterhead. Finally, he thanked representatives from Human Resources, particularly Howerton and Robbins for providing updated information to the Committee.

The Chair asked if Delegates had any comments about the analysis or other questions about the data. Reba Sullivan did not understand the apparently large gap between the number of adjustments given to the College of Arts & Sciences (11 increases given) and the number from the Division of Health Affairs (487 increases given, 35% of the total overall.) She asked what other areas received adjustments besides Arts & Sciences and Health Affairs. In addition, Sullivan proposed an analysis of the distribution of adjustments removing increases granted to housekeepers, since she thought these increases were most likely a result of the recent housekeepers’ settlement.

The Chair restated Sullivan’s questions for the benefit of the audience. Laurie Charest said she did not have a breakdown of the adjustments by units and asked that the Forum indicate the particular units it wished to utilize in further examination of the data. Human Resources had generally used larger divisions in its initial comparisons. The College of Arts & Sciences was mentioned specifically in response to a request from the Compensation and Benefits Committee. Did the Forum wish for further analysis by department, or by major divisions. A different approach to the data would require more effort by Human Resources.

With respect to housekeepers’ adjustments, Charest noted Sullivan’s comment that maybe these adjustments should not be included since they were said to be part of the recent legal settlement. In fact, these adjustments were enacted prior to the settlement. The only way the in-range policy is related to the housekeepers’ settlement is that adjustments were made retroactive for four months for those qualified. In-range adjustments are administered in Housekeeping Services the same way as in any other department within the University. Charest was uncertain it would be appropriate to separate Housekeeping Services from the rest of the University, as every department has a similar opportunity to pursue these adjustments. However, Human Resources could do an analysis excluding Housekeeping Services nonetheless if the Forum wished.

Sullivan asked if Charest thought the distribution of adjustments would remain constant in future years. Charest said she did not know, as this was the first year University departments had the opportunity to implement these adjustments. Obviously, there was quite a bit of pent-up need dealing with equity situations, but Charest was uncertain if these considerations would linger.

Libby Evans proposed that the Forum’s factsheet note that the housekeepers’ settlement did not influence the assignment of in-range adjustments, only making these adjustments retroactive. Such a postscript might clear up possible mis-perceptions among Employees studying the document. Charest thought that the Forum could add this statement if it chose.

Charest recalled that Forum members had several times wondered how the distribution of adjustments across campus might be influenced by the source of departmental salary funds. She noted a general perception among Forum members that Employees in wholly State-funded positions would have a lesser chance to receive adjustments than Employees in non-State-funded positions. In fact, the data proved the opposite, as 19.3% of SPA State-funded Employees received adjustments, in comparison to 16.5% of SPA non-State Employees. Charest was pleased that these percentages were not far apart.

Thomas Holmes reported questions among his fellow Employees about the In-Range Salary Adjustment policy. These Employees generally felt they did not know much about the policy, and felt generally that many times information about these policies does not filter down to the average Employee.

Holmes had several Employees asked him about the policy, stating that they felt they were not receiving all the details about its scope and implementation. He proposed that a letter be sent out to all Employees describing progress on the policy. Holmes noted that Human Resources had disseminated an earlier letter, but thought it would be valuable to bring Employees up to date on policy implementation and qualification requirements.

The Chair felt that Holmes’ point led to the question of how to publicize the policy to the campus workforce. Tommy Brickhouse thought that Forum Delegates could mail the final fact sheet to their constituents in their respective departments and divisions.

Holmes hoped this information would be distributed to the average Employee through one means or another. Charest said that Human Resources would generally share policy information with the University Gazette, recalling again that Human Resources had sent a letter describing the policy to each Employee when the program started. The department has also utilized Human Resources Facilitators to distribute information about the policy, though Charest recognized that news may have been distributed unevenly across campus. However, she would be happy to hear other ideas from the Forum about how to distribute information more effectively to University Employees.

The Chair recalled that the School of Public Health had invited Jerry Howerton to speak with School Employees about the in-range policy. Howerton outlined the University’s development of the policy and encouraged the School to work on creating their department’s distinctive adjustment process. The Chair speculated that Employees in other parts of campus could encourage supervisors to set up similar presentations in their work units given Howerton’s expressed willingness to travel and speak on the policy.

The Chair suggested that the Forum and Human Resources create a joint mailer updating Employees on the policy, possibly combining this information with another special mailer. Such a mailer might develop into an annual summary of policy activity.

George Sharp was concerned that if responsibility for mailing the fact sheets was given to individual Delegates, an unwelcome variation in distribution of mailers across campus could result. He felt that the Forum Office should take responsibility as a whole for insuring these documents are mailed to everyone. Janet Tysinger added that many departments do not have Forum representatives, and may be missed by a piecemeal mailing. Thomas Holmes interjected that he personally has kept informed mainly through his dealings with the Forum, not through other means.

Drake Maynard said that Human Resources would be happy to work with Tommy Brickhouse and the Compensation and Benefits to modify the fact sheet. Maynard also offered to find money within his department’s budget to cover copying and mailing expenditures. He hoped to work with the Committee to revise the document, particularly adding a statistic noting various departments’ staff populations in comparison to the percentages of adjustments received. He thought this statistic would clear up confusion about the data. Maynard thought it a responsibility of Human Resources and the Forum to insure that this information be distributed to everyone on campus. He encouraged the Forum to utilize every means available to communicate this information, through the Forum, the University Gazette, direct mailings and otherwise, given that different people find out information in different ways. Brickhouse looked forward to working with Maynard on revising the fact sheet.

Libby Evans agreed with Maynard that the Forum could not rely on one means of communication to reach its constituents. Also, this issue would not be a “one-shot deal,” but would require a variety of ongoing approaches to adequately publicize the data. The Chair proposed that the Forum reserve space for the subject in its upcoming Gazette insert.

Peter Schledorn proposed that the Committee rework the statistics to break down data by the school level. This approach would address the question about adjustments in the College of Arts & Sciences. Also, he suggested there be a general breakdown of adjustments comparing Health Affairs and Academic Affairs.

As there were no further comments, the Chair thanked the group for its exploration of this issue, and thanked Human Resources and the Compensation and Benefits Committee for its work in constructing the fact sheet.

 

The Chair noted that the invitation to invite Troy Green, Executive Director of SEANC, to give a special presentation to the Forum was up for second reading. He asked if there was a motion to invite Green to give a presentation to the Forum. George Sharp made this motion, and Lucille Brooks seconded. There was no discussion, and the motion passed unanimously.

The Chair noted the second reading of the proposal to invite President-Elect Molly Broad to address the Forum’s Spring 1998 Community Meeting, or its January 1998 Forum meeting, or another gathering at her convenience. Anne Montgomery made a motion to extend this invitation, with Joyce Dalgleish seconding. Janet Tysinger hoped that if it were at all possible, she hoped that Broad could be convinced to speak at the Spring Community Meeting to give a broader presentation to the general body of University Employees. The Chair added the third priority so that if could not attend either function, the Forum would have some flexibility in suggesting another date. The Chair clarified that the Forum will invite Broad to speak, in order of preference, at the Spring Community Meeting, the January Forum meeting, then some other function at her convenience. Members approved this motion unanimously.

 

New Business

The Chair referred members to a resolution included in the agenda packet honoring outgoing Chair of the Faculty Jane Brown. The Chair recalled that the Forum had recently set a requirement that “proposals of substance” must receive two separate readings. However, the Forum could entertain a motion to suspend the rules in order to hear and approve the resolution at the same meeting.

The Chair called for a motion to suspend the rules and vote to approve of the resolution at this meeting. Norm Loewenthal made this motion, with Peter Schledorn seconding. There was no discussion, and the motion passed unanimously.

The Chair read the proposed resolution:

A Resolution Honoring Jane Brown, Chair of the Faculty,

Upon Her Retirement From that Position

 

PROPOSED RESOLUTION OF THE EMPLOYEE FORUM

THE UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA AT CHAPEL HILL

June 4, 1997

 

WHEREAS, the Mission of the Employee Forum is to address constructively the concerns of the Employees of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; and

 

WHEREAS, these concerns include the recognition of individuals who have distinguished themselves in service to the University community, so as to encourage similar achievement among the remainder of the community’s members; and

 

WHEREAS, an individual among us has distinguished herself by extraordinary resolution and high devotion to duty to the University community in her tenure as Professor of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication and Chair of the Faculty; and

 

WHEREAS, during her stewardship as Chair of the Faculty, this individual has extended the powers of her office to increase the quantity and quality of relations among students, faculty and staff Employees; and

 

WHEREAS, this individual has used the powers of her office to concretely augment relations between the Faculty Council and the Employee Forum, most prominently in the creation of the University Council, the joint appointment of faculty and staff Employees to University Committees of mutual interest and the shared provision of facilities for use by the Forum Office and its representatives;

 

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the Employee Forum extends its warm best wishes and thanks to Jane Brown as she retires from her post as Chair of the Faculty.

 

Members gave Brown a long round of applause. The motion was approved by acclamation.

Brown said that she had greatly enjoyed meeting with the Forum and hoped that the Forum and the Faculty Council would continue to work together. She noted that Chair-Elect Pete Andrews was present and was looking forward to meeting with the current group upon taking office. Members gave Brown another round of applause; the Chair noted that Brown and Andrews would always be welcome at the Forum’s meetings.

 

The Chair noted the first reading of a proposal to invite Barbara DeLon, Director of Housekeeping Services, to give a special presentation to the Forum. In addition, there was a proposal presented on first reading to invite Pete Andrews, to make a special presentation to the Forum. Upon passage at second reading, the Forum Office would contact these prospective speakers to work out the details of their talks.

 

Chair’s Report

The Chair noted the growing movement in ten System campuses to form a Statewide Staff Assembly. Representatives of these campuses met May 29 at UNC-Greensboro to continue discussions that had begun last year. The UNC-Chapel Hill delegation included the Chair, Ann Hamner, and Anne Montgomery, with the Forum Assistant serving in an adjunct role. The next meeting of the group will be in Boone on August 1.

The Forum Office created a one-page summary of the meeting’s events that was distributed in draft form to the assembly. The Chair noted that the Statewide group had not yet elected officers or yet created a formal organization. The UNC-Chapel Hill group has taken on some of the responsibilities for recording decisions, but did not plan to staff the Statewide Staff Assembly.

Ann Hamner added that seven campuses were represented in Greensboro, with another two groups unable to attend because of unforeseen circumstances. Hamner thought the Staff Assembly was a very exciting project, and she looked forward to continuing the group’s work.

Hamner thought that these meetings were a great opportunity to share information about common campus issues and problems. She thought these meetings would continue to grow and help campus staff solve mutual problems in a way similar to the Faculty and Student Assemblies. She envisioned the Staff Assembly would offer an avenue to share concerns with the System President and the Board of Governors.

The Chair was greatly encouraged by the progress of the Greensboro meeting, and reported that the Boone meeting should see concrete discussion on assembly by-laws, procedures, and research into other System-wide assemblies. The group will also begin to examine the organization of the UNC Faculty Assembly, currently headed by Chapel Hill faculty member Lolly Gassaway. Aaron Nelson volunteered to provide the Forum with information about the UNC Student Assembly.

Bob Schreiner noted that the Chapel Hill group had agreed to create a document composed of existing materials and guidelines to share with workers from System campuses without staff councils. Accompanying this material will be a FAQ document designed to answer the questions of workers or administrators involved in starting their own “Employee Forums.” A draft of this document will be completed prior to the August 1 meeting in Boone.

 

The June agenda packet included the final draft of a supplementary minutes dealing with University financial matters. The Forum Office prepared minutes from the very fine presentation by Roger Patterson and Elson Floyd, making a special effort to create a useful set of information. The Forum Office had shared these minutes with Patterson beforehand to catch any technical errors. The Chair hoped that the financial presentation minutes would serve as a valuable primer for Employees seeking to understand University financial issues.

 

Regarding Division 2 concerns, the Chair recalled an idea for the Division 2 delegation to write a letter to their particular constituency encouraging Employees to come forward with ideas or problems, and consider standing for election to the Forum. He thought that this method would allow the Forum to engage in outreach activities most effectively, through these workers’ peers. He encouraged Forum members to pass on ideas to members of the delegation to utilize in their communication.

The Chair asked if members had any other concerns to discuss regarding the special work situation of Division 2 Employees. Jerry Hall noted that Employees had expressed 4-5 different concerns to him that he thought useful to share with the Forum.

First, of the many people currently work for the University through Tar Heel Temps or other auxiliary units, some work shift differential hours, but do not receive shift differential pay. Hall did not feel this differentiation among workers doing the same job on the same schedule was just. He could understand denying shift differential pay if a temporary worker was working only one day a week or only a few hours a day, but felt that someone working five days a week in this situation should receive shift differential pay the same as other State Employees.

Secondly, he felt some departments have taken an attitude similar to private business, and have circumvented University procedure. For example, after one Employee recently retired from a position, another person was hand-picked to take their place. Other Employees with more seniority were forced to train this person to do their job.

Hall did not feel this was right and said that Division 2 Employees get upset about these practices. For example, Employees filling out Transfer Opportunity Program (TOPS) forms have had very little success in obtaining transfers, while the University continues to hire people off the street with very little University training. Hall heard such stories all the time, but could not see what was being done to solve this problem.

Thomas Holmes added that one Employee had told him she had filed 39 TOPS applications but had gained only one interview as a result of this effort. Line Employees generally feel they were not having much luck with the TOPS program. Holmes added he had personally not worked through the TOPS program, but had heard complaints from several other Employees.

The Chair hoped that the Forum could work to find answers to these questions, in consultation with Human Resources and other departments. He asked the Division 2 delegation if they could take a few minutes after the meeting to pursue these discussions further and flesh out some of the details mentioned.

Janet Tysinger proposed asking Tar Heel Temps to provide some clarification of their employment policies in a broader way across campus. She noted a general uncertainty about policies governing temporary workers among University Employees. Tysinger was certain that such information was readily available, but was not common knowledge across campus. The Chair restated Tysinger’s question to note the policy difference between temporary and regular Employees on subjects like shift differential and other matters. He asked that Division 2 members and others help to flesh out these questions out more completely.

 

The Chair reported that Senator Ellie Kinnaird and Representative Verla Insko have agreed to address the Forum on August 6 and October 1 of this year, respectively.

The Chair noted interest among past Forum members about the possibility of a five year reunion, and concerns among current members about how to hold such a reunion while maintaining a reasonable level of participation, planning and expense. One suggestion had been to have the reunion coincide with the incoming Delegates reception, usually held in November. At the meeting, former members could be honored and recognized. The Chair thought this would be a feasible approach with a reasonable probability of success, as it would minimize expense and manpower commitment.

Jeffery Beam, Co-Chair of the Orientation Committee, expressed a general enthusiasm for the idea. He asked how the Forum would handle its tenth year reunion, as the number of former members would be at that point too large to invite everyone to the Wilson Library lobby. The Chair imagined the ten year reunion would indeed be too large for the Library lobby, and would require a different approach.

George Sharp had some logistical concerns about the size of the room for the reunion. He worried that the number of past members, combined with the incoming class of Delegates and the current Forum, would be too many people for the lobby. Sharp also was concerned that the planning for the reunion could grow too time-consuming. The Chair said he was also concerned about financial reasons and the ease of planning. He thought that planning the reunion in tandem with the existing incoming delegate reception would conserve Forum resources.

Janet Tysinger recalled that when she attended the reception as a new delegate she had difficulty matching names with faces in all of the tumult before the Forum meeting. She proposed that the reception be held immediately after the Forum meeting, so that members could have their lunch time to linger and meet with their fellow Delegates.

Since the Orientation Committee generally has handled planning for the November reception, the Chair had contacted the Orientation Committee beforehand to discuss this idea in brief. The Chair asked if co-chairs Beam and Joyce Dalgleish were amenable to these discussions. He noted that the Forum Office was available to help with planning and logistical help. Beam said the Orientation Committee would discuss these ideas at its next meeting.

 

The Chair reported that a number of Employees have contacted the Forum Office to inquire about the absence of Employee discount cards from the Employee Appreciation Fair registration materials. The Chair had contacted Patti Smith of Human Resources to find out why the cards had been omitted. Smith replied that the cards had been paid for by the Chapel Hill Herald which this year had chosen to withdraw funding for the cards. As this shortfall occurred relatively late in the Fair’s planning process, organizers did not have time to solicit new donors to create the cards.

Human Resources is investigating continuing the discount card program by substituting Employees’ UNC One cards. Using One cards would eliminate the expense of producing a separate set of discount cards every year. Human Resources and the Forum had asked the Gazette to run an blurb explaining the reasons for the discount cards’ absence. The Chair noted that discount coupons were still offered on the back page of the Appreciation Fair booklet, though these may not hold the same appeal as the discount cards. He praised Human Resources’ rapid response to this problem and looked forward to hearing of future progress in establishing UNC One cards as a substitute for the discount cards.

 

The Chair noted that Andi Sobbe of University Advancement had responded to the Forum’s letter requesting input in the selection of the individual representing staff Employees in the University’s internal money-raising campaign. Sobbe responded that the selection of these co-chairs was a relatively informal process, but welcomed any suggestions the Forum might have. The Chair thought that the Forum would need to be proactive in providing recommendations, as the selection of the co-chair representing staff Employees will take place in early October.

The Chair asked the Forum for advice on the best process for making these recommendations. Members thought it best for the Executive Committee to explore this issue further.

 

The Chair reported that the University Council, composed of the Chancellor, the Provost, the Executive Vice Chancellor, the Chair of the Faculty, the President of Student Government, the President of the Graduate and Professional Student Federation and the Chair of the Forum, met at Jane Brown’s place on May 27. He thought this was a good meeting and a good chance to speak with other University leaders.

Norm Loewenthal asked if the Council would continue to meet on a regular basis. The Chair recalled that the group had planned to meet at a six week interval, although this might change as eventualities arise. Mo Nathan, current Student Body President, suggested the group next meet in the Lenoir Pavilion as soon as school starts. Norm Loewenthal felt it important and useful for the Chair to meet with University Administration and representatives of the campuses other major constituencies. He felt that establishing these channels of meeting was important to the Forum and University Employees generally. The Chair said he would do his best to insure that these meetings will continue.

 

The Chair asked if members were interested in reviving the “Relax & Chat” bag lunches generally held after the Forum’s monthly meeting. Members basically could bring their lunch or buy something from the Student Union to eat outside. George Sharp, Norm Loewenthal and Janet Tysinger all indicated their interest in holding a bag lunch after the July meeting.

 

The Chair noted that the Executive Committee had discussed several proposed Guidelines revisions apart from those under consideration by the Forum Officer Election Procedure Task Force. The Chair took a moment to go over these issues briefly.

Regarding Forum Officer elections, there was a question if the Forum should require a plurality or majority to confirm a candidate’s election. Currently, the Forum Guidelines make no mention of a requirement for plurality or majority. The Chair noted that the Faculty Council recently was forced to hold a run-off election as none of the three candidates for Chair had achieved a majority vote. George Sharp felt it important for this point to be made clear one way or another. The Chair asked if the Forum Officer Election Procedure Task Force would be willing to investigate this concern. Sharp, convenor of the task force, said the group would be address the issue and make such a recommendation.

Secondly, the Guidelines are not specific about the succession process of Forum Officers. It is not clear what occurs if an officer cannot continue in their post due to unforeseen circumstances. As an aside, the Chair assured the Forum that he had no plans of retiring.

George Sharp asked what the Guidelines say regarding first-year Delegates elected as officers running for office again their second year. Is there a one year limit on members serving in office? Ann Hamner said that the Guidelines do not make a statement on the point, aside from stating that “Officers must be elected Delegates at the time of their election and during their term in office.” (VII. D.3. Election of Officers—Eligibility) She recalled that a past delegate had been elected to serve in office two years in a row in the first years of the Forum. Sharp thought that the Forum should clarify the succession issue as well.

The final proposed revision was a requirement that only Delegates and first alternates be allowed to chair Forum Committees. The Chair noted that Employees are encouraged to serve on a Forum Committees, but should Employees who have not been elected to the Forum be allowed to chair these Committees? Sharp thought that requiring the chair of Forum Committees to be a Forum member was a reasonable requirement, as members have been elected by their peers as representatives all staff Employees.

 

Milton Anthony recalled a question raised several weeks ago as to whether Forum Officer elections must take place in the January meeting. Sharp thought this was a separate issue from those under discussion, and asked leave to give his report detailing the activities of the Forum Officer Election Procedure Task Force.

Sharp recalled that he, Eddie Capel, Libby Evans, and Peter Schledorn met to discuss the issues involved in the election procedure. The group had distributed a survey to all Forum Delegates, and had received 27 of 44 responses. Sharp thanked those who took the time to fill out the survey.

The survey asked several questions. Concerning whether each candidate running for a Forum Officer position should be allowed a second person to speak on their behalf, 22 thought this should be allowed and 4 respondents disagreed. Concerning absentee ballots, 22 respondents thought there should be some mechanism in place to allow these ballots, and 4 respondents disagreed. Concerning whether Delegates should have an opportunity to meet candidates before the election itself, 25 respondents thought there should be such an opportunity and 2 respondents did not.

The survey asked if members preferred the December meeting or the January Retreat as the best time to get to know the candidates. Seventeen respondents preferred the December meeting, while 6 preferred the Retreat; two of these were concerned that the newly elected Delegates would be unable to participate in the December meeting.

The task force proposed that the December 4 meeting be used as the initial mechanism to introduce new candidates to the Forum. The task force proposed a change in the Guidelines to allow new Delegates’ terms to begin at the December Forum meeting, effectively extending their term of office to 25 months. All new Delegates would be expected to attend the December Forum meeting as they would any other meeting.

At the December meeting, members would have a chance to ask questions and receive responses from candidates and the general Forum, after speeches from candidates and supporters. This time would be an opportunity for new members to experience first-hand interaction with the candidates before the election, allowing them to make a more informed choice in January.

The task force proposed a method for administering absentee ballots in which the Forum Assistant will have a primary role.

The task force discussed creation of a Chair-Elect position similar to that in place at the NC State Staff Senate, but rejected this proposal as it could not find a way to implement this procedure in a fair manner. All active Delegates will have the opportunity to run for office. Finally, the task force has provided a number of proposals dealing with the candidate information sheet, incorporating photographs as supplementary material.

All of these proposals will be forwarded to the Executive Committee for its reference as it constructs specific Guidelines revisions for consideration by the entire Forum. At that point, Forum members will have the opportunity to propose revisions to the Forum Officer election procedure proposals.

The Chair added that the task force’s written proposal will be available along with the Executive Committee’s proposed Guidelines revisions in the July agenda packet.

Ann Hamner had a question regarding the task force’s proposal that new Delegates be sworn in at the December meeting. She noted that incoming Delegates are already invited to attend the December meeting. How will elections be run if these new Delegates are sworn in at the December meeting? Will 67-68 Delegates have an opportunity to vote on all motions for the December meeting? Sharp said this would be the case for the December meeting only, then retiring Delegates would retire from the Forum and the group’s number would return to 45 members.

The Chair thought that the task force should consider the implications of the Forum’s first and second reading rules when expanding the membership each December. Incoming Delagates might not be ready for discussion of an issue’s second reading. Stephanie Stadler thought this would be an appropriate issue to address in the Guidelines. Sharp noted that this problem would generally arise anyway at the January meeting in any event.

Peter Schledorn noted that two-thirds of the December group would have been present at the November meeting to consider proposals on first reading, and so did not consider the waiting period requirement a matter of grave concern. Eddie Capel recalled that most of the December meeting was devoted to hearing Committees’ Annual Reports, presenting certificates of appreciation to departing Delagates, and other, relatively mundane topics. He thought that the December meeting would be a perfect time for new and old members to hear from candidates.

Schledorn asked if the Forum wished for the election procedure task force to continue in operation. Sharp noted that there were a few more issues for the task force to address that had arisen during the day’s meeting. The Chair was uncertain about the need for the task force to continue meeting, and imagined that the Executive Committee would be happy to explore these issues in its treatment of the task force’s recommendations. Sharp was amenable to this idea, and said that the group would have its written set of recommendations to the Forum Office that next week.

The Chair thanked the task force for its thorough, timely work.

 

 

Committee/Task Force Reports

Libby Evans, Chair of the Nominating Committee, said the group had met June 2 to set up its schedule of meetings for the summer and fall. The group will be gathering background information from past years’ committees. Evans anticipated the group would have minutes ready for the next month’s packet.

Jeffery Beam, Co-Chair of the Orientation Committee, said the group would meet next month. The Chair thanked Beam and the Committee for their consideration in agreeing to work on the 5 Year Reunion.

Peter Schledorn, Chair of the Personnel Policies Committee, reported the group had not met that month.

Tommy Brickhouse, Chair of the Compensation and Benefits Committee, once again thanked the group and Human Resources for their help in constructing the In-Range Salary Adjustment Fact Sheet. He anticipated the group would soon move on to the creation and distribution of a generic letter all Employees detailing how to communicate with legislators on issues of concern. Personally, Brickhouse pointed out that the Legislature had recently discovered a $230 million surplus and wondered why the State could not use this windfall to fund salary increases called for under the Comprehensive Pay Plan. This money could mean a 6%, rather than a 3% raise for every Employee.

Brickhouse noted the Committee had received sample letters from SEANC. Stephanie Stadler thought that any letter-writing kit should indicate which legislators serve on which committees, so that Employees might best target their letters. Brickhouse thought this was a good point.

 

Anne Montgomery, Co-Chair of the Public Affairs Committee, noted a summation of that group’s concerns was included in the day’s Routing File. The group was particularly concerned about defining and filling its charge, and felt that of its concerns the most important was the timely distribution of information to staff Employees at large.

Montgomery noted the earlier discussion concerning the many ways to distribute information across campus, and reported that Public Affairs members had been particularly interested in the creation of a periodic Forum newsletter to be sent to all Employees. Montgomery thought the newsletter idea may face some financial and labor-based hurdles but deserved examination, as the group explores various ways of distributing information more rapidly to Employees. She welcomed Employees’ ideas about meeting this challenge.

Janet Tysinger said she was particularly inspired by the ideas that the Public Affairs Committee had suggested and thought that possibly the Forum may wish to seek departmental help from Public Safety or Human Resources to fund an expansion of the Forum’s newsletter, or possibly choose to ask for increase in the Forum’s overhead budget. The Chair thought that the upcoming Gazette insert would provide a baseline of time and money needed to produce a newsletter on a regular basis. He thanked Montgomery and the Committee for their report.

Laura Grady, Co-Chair of the Recognition and Awards Committee, praised their group as an enthusiastic one that was in the midst of planning the Staff Processional at University Day, collecting information for a recognition program booklet, and working with Human Resources to find information for the Forum’s memorial for deceased Employees. The group’s next meeting will be June 18 in Carr Building; Grady looked forward to reporting on the progress of the group in these and other matters in July.

 

Anne Montgomery, Co-Chair of the University Committee Assignments Committee, reported that her counterpart, Tommy Nixon, was on vacation. The Committee had cancelled its regularly scheduled meeting, anticipating that it would need time later in June to consider nominations for the long-range parking and transportation task force.

Montgomery was somewhat baffled that more Employees were not interested in serving on the task force; so far fewer than twenty persons have applied. The deadline for applications is June 11, the same day as the Spring Community Meeting; Montgomery anticipated that the Meeting’s discussion of parking would generate more interest in service on the task force. The Forum Office would make copies of the application available at the meeting. Montgomery thanked the University Gazette for its help in publicizing the task force and running the application form in its pages.

 

Norm Loewenthal, Chair of the Career Development Committee, noted that there had been questions about the creation of the Employee career counselor position, an initiative the Forum chose to support through the Staff Development Fund. Laurie Charest reported that the position had undergone the job description process, though funding for the position would not be available until July 1. Solicitations for the position will officially be posted soon.

Loewenthal reported that the group had devoted the majority of its meeting to discussions with Director of Employment Jack Stone about career growth opportunities for Employees. Stone had a number of useful suggestions, particularly that the Committee should focus on certain occupational areas in which career growth is inherent in the duties of the position. Stone thought that if the University can identify certain types of occupations in which skill growth is likely, Employees seeking advancement in these areas shall be more likely to find success. Loewenthal anticipated the group would continue this discussion at its next meeting.

Loewenthal noted the concerns members expressed earlier in the meeting about the TOPS process. He thought it might be useful to consider additional training for Employees about how to use TOPS system more effectively. In particular, the training could emphasize how to present oneself and highlight one’s experiences to encourage potential employers to offer a job. He was concerned that TOPS applicants may not be using the process as effectively as they otherwise might.

Eddie Capel recalled Stone’s comment that many times information on TOPS applications is presented in a sloppy or imprecise manner, adversely affecting applicants’ chances with departments. This negative effect can occur even when the applicant is well-qualified for the work. Capel thought it a worthy endeavor for the Forum to help Human Resources to develop a workshop providing Employees advice about presenting positive information on TOPS and job applications.

George Sharp noted that many Employees have expressed many concerns about the TOPS program. He thought that there could be better communications between applicants and administrators about the progress of the TOPS program. For instance, there might be more communication with Employees about how is the program working, and why people are or are not chosen for position. Sharp thought there was a gap of understanding between those in charge of the program and those trying to utilize it. He proposed following up with Stone about this communications gap as well as the suggested training programs and seminars with regard to navigating the TOPS application process.

Libby Evans thought that this subject provided another opportunity for a joint communication from the Forum and Human Resources about TOPS programs, similar to the fact sheet on in-range salary adjustment program. The Forum could sponsor a document answering questions of Employees seeking to best utilize the TOPS program.

The Chair offered that the Forum might hold a Community Meeting on the topic with a panel of managers describing how they make hiring decisions and answering Employees’ questions on their opinions of the TOPS program applicants. The Forum might co-sponsor this Meeting with Human Resources.

Thomas Holmes reported that one Employee he knew felt that many people chosen through TOPS gain their positions because they know someone, not because of their qualifications. This person was very frustrated with the TOPS process.

Tom Sullivan advised the Forum to be certain that any such program be accessible to all Employees, and take into account the feelings of supervisors who may not be enthusiastic about their Employee taking an afternoon in the middle of the workday for this purpose.

Laurie Charest reported that Human Resources holds classes on interview skills and resume writing after “normal” working hours. Unfortunately, these classes are never full. Charest thought that anything the Forum could do to publicize these classes would be most helpful, through a fact sheet, the Gazette, the Forum’s web page or other means.

Thomas Holmes said he had not known about these programs, and imagined that other Employees did not know about these programs either. The Chair asked what the University policy is concerning Employees taking workshops offered by Human Resources during work hours. Charest said that any class that the Employee’s supervisor agrees is appropriate is counted as work time. Charest said most campus supervisors have been very supportive about their Employees taking a wide range of courses.

However, many Employees are understandably reluctant to ask their supervisors for work time to attend classes designed to help them change jobs. This was the reason that Human Resources had chosen to hold its interview and resume classes after regular working hours. Members certainly understood this rationale.

Tommy Brickhouse noted that Physical Plant supervisors are obligated to interview all TOPS applicants. Secondly, he reported an unexpected consequence regarding the promotion of housekeepers to positions in University Mail Services.

Traditionally, Mail Services has been the next logical step for promotion for housekeepers within the University. However, as a result of the recent in-range adjustments, a certain section of housekeepers have become unemployable in Mail Services due to their relatively advanced salary, unable, even, to be considered for interviews.

Peter Schledorn asked if Brickhouse could quantify this statement. Brickhouse said that these housekeepers were plainly making too much money to be considered for Mail Services positions. Schledorn asked if this fact was true over the whole range of housekeepers’ salaries. Brickhouse replied that upon entry, housekeepers in this situation enter Mail Services making more money than previously employed mail clerks. Once again, he saw this problem as another symptom of staff salary compression.

Norm Loewenthal wished to accentuate the very positive letter from Executive Vice Chancellor Elson Floyd supporting the Career Development Committee’s initiatives to make academic credit and career enhancement courses more available to Employees. In that letter, with respect to academic credit opportunities, Floyd had said he would refer this matter to the Provost’s Office and the Faculty Council. Through the Forum Office, the Career Development Committee has invited representatives of the Provost’s Office and the Faculty Council to attend the group’s September meeting. A copy of Floyd’s letter was included in the Routing File.

George Sharp reported that the New Careers Training Board was underway and had met on the second Tuesday in May. Sharp serves as a liaison to the Board from the Career Development Committee and the Forum, not as a voting member. The Board has evaluated voted on particular programs to be funded through monies dedicated from the housekeepers’ settlement. The Board had been fortunate to receive a gift of computers that saved the University nearly $30,000. He was encouraged that the Board was moving along.

Janet Tysinger, Chair of the Employee Presentations Committee, reminded members that the Spring Community Meeting will take place Wednesday, June 11, at 9 a.m. in the Hanes Art Center Auditorium, Room 121. She asked that members arrive a few minutes early to greet people and make them feel welcome. She was encouraged by the advance publicity and anticipated a strong turnout. Libby Evans asked if nametags would be available for members to wear at the meeting. Tysinger said she would work with the Forum Office to insure nametags were available.

The Chair congratulated Tysinger and the Employee Appreciation Fair Booth Task Force for the outstanding job they had done with the Forum’s booth. Tysinger thanked Task Force members Nancy Atwater, Lucille Brooks, Betty Geer, Tommy Nixon, and others for their sparkling contributions and high spirits. The group had benefited from many prize giveaways donated by Chapel Hill and Carrboro businesses. Tysinger thanked Joyce Dalgliesh for securing signatures from coaches Dean Smith and Anson Dorrance, and facilitating copies of the Forum’s survey.

Tysinger reported the Booth had been swamped, and over 1,000 surveys were compiled. The results of these surveys are being tallied and should be available for the July meeting. She thanked Linda Drake and Norm Loewenthal for helping pick winners and clean up afterward. Also, she thanked everyone on the Forum for the 30 minutes they worked at the Booth throughout the day.

The Chair seconded Tysinger’s thanks, saying he thought the Task Force’s outstanding booth and effort were terrific. He was very proud of the positive touch the group had brought to the task.

Eddie Capel shared one concern about the day. He recalled that throughout the day people were grabbing surveys to fill out in a rather large mob, in order to register for prizes. He noted that some other Forum Committees had gone to some effort to create nicely printed information sheets that were for the most part ignored by the populace. Capel thought that next year, the survey might include some information for Employees interested in University Committees or Career Development opportunities. Also, he suggested that perhaps information sheets could be included in the bag that Employees receive upon entering the Fair, along with their booklet and lunch. He was disappointed that more people had not availed themselves of these handouts.

During the Fair, Tysinger had thought a great deal about the distribution of Forum fact sheets. She observed that most Employees were enjoying themselves going from booth to booth in a search for prizes. She felt that there was more of a carefree atmosphere than anything else, and that Employees may not be as receptive to educational opportunities at that moment. She recalled being equally distressed when the University Committee Assignments Committee handout had been ignored at the 1996 Fair. Tysinger thought that the Fair may not be the place to distribute this information or the Forum should find another way to improve distribution. As an alternative, Capel proposed that the Forum could just include documents in a bag give as Employees walk by. Tysinger pointed out this plan would require greater numbers of handouts and labor to stuff bags.

Libby Evans warned that “you can’t fight human nature too hard.” As badly as the Forum may want to educate and help, Employees attend the Fair for fun. One suggestion that might help would be to separate the educational literature from the crowded Booth. She thought the Booth had been so successful that there was no way for an interested Employee to absorb the information given and ask questions of members. A separate literature rack might be more effective.

Tysinger said she was shocked by the number of people who attended the Booth; whereas the Forum received 300 surveys, this year the Forum gave out 1,000 surveys, and by the last hour the Booth was asking Employees to fill out pieces of paper as to serve as drawing chances.

As a member of the Planning Committee for the Fair, the Chair asked if members or others could privately share their comments about the Fair’s organization and planning.

 

The Forum Officer Election Procedure Task Force’s activities had been covered by George Sharp earlier in the meeting.

The Chair said the University Gazette Insert Task Force would meet with Mike Hobbs soon to talk about layout and budget criteria for the project.

Faculty Council Liaisons Peter Schledorn from Domestic Partner Benefits and Tom Sullivan from Legislative Affairs had nothing to report. Janet Tysinger from the Transportation and Parking Advisory Committee also had nothing to report.

Ann Hamner, Forum representative on the Outsourcing Steering Team, reported the group met June 2. It had received three responses to the RFP for a consultant in the Physical Plant to work on the study; the technical portion of these responses was currently being evaluated. The Team hoped to have a contract in place with a consultant within 4-5 weeks, at the latest. Hamner noted a copy of the outsourcing criteria and guidelines has been sent to all Employees in areas under study in Phase 2.

The Steering Team discussed efforts by Laurie Charest and the Employee Relations Team to prepare for the Spring Community Meeting June 11. Several members of the Team attended a teleconference that had been organized by the University of Wisconsin on the subject of outsourcing for public works. A number of municipalities were represented in the teleconference, and Bruce Runberg reported that a fair amount of interesting information was made available. Hamner reminded the Forum that the Steering Team meets the first Monday of every month on the 3rd floor of South Building at 11 a.m.

 

Human Resources Update

The Chair had asked Laurie Charest before the meeting to make some comments about why there is no longevity pay for EPA non-faculty Employees, in response to a question from a constituent. Charest noted that SPA Employees benefit from specific statutory legislation for longevity pay. No such authority exists for EPA non-faculty. Charest recalled the well-known general prohibition against spending State dollars in ways not authorized by the Legislature. Therefore, the University does not have the authority to create a provision for EPA non-faculty, and such a provision would require legislative action.

Libby Evans asked if there was a precedent for longevity pay for Employees other than SPA Employees, such as senior political officials. Charest replied that these provisions did exist, but a similar provision is not in place for EPA non-faculty.

Charest reported that the revised violence in the workplace policy had been approved by the Executive Council. Human Resources had done its best to incorporate suggestions from the Forum on the policy and would presently communicate and perform training sessions explaining the policy throughout campus.

Regarding the Legislative Update, Charest noted there had been talk in the House of a 4% raise for SPA Employees—2% for cost of living and 2% for career growth. However, the House would find this extra money by reducing the State’s employer contribution to the Retirement Fund from 10.83 to 10.09%. Observers have generally felt this course would produce the $40 million required to raise salaries an additional percentage point. Some felt that in the long run this action might be detrimental to University Employees. Charest cautioned that the House had not yet passed its budget bill and any agreement on salary increases would be subject to budget conference committee negotiations.

Charest noted the rumor that the previously mentioned retirement incentive proposal is likely to be attached to the House budget bill. (The proposal was described in more detail in the Human Resources Update of the May 1997 minutes.) This proposal has not passed the Senate and would subject to further consideration by the conference committee.

Anticipating the retirement incentive bill’s possible passage, Human Resources constructed an estimate of the possible cost of this proposal to the University. This estimate differs significantly from the State Retirement System’s estimate. Human Resources assumed that if all Employees currently eligible for early retirement took advantage of this proposal, it would cost the University $10.8 million. This expense would be spread over a 14 year period, as retirees would receive this additional benefit until age 62. Employees as young as age 48 are eligible to take this incentive.

The Retirement System has estimated that 50% of those eligible will take advantage of this incentive, an estimate that Charest thought was rather conservative. She pointed out that many Employees will be able to purchase retirement system credit to become eligible for this incentive before reaching 25 or 30 years service; Human Resources has received many phone calls regarding this provision. Thus, the retirement initiative may grow into a very significant expense for the University, in direct payments and workforce losses.

Charest noted that the House budget bill contains the same provision as the Senate bill to raise the retirement factor from 1.76 to 1.81. Although this figure is still not where it needs to be, it represents a significant increase and a good improvement.

With regard to House Bill 315/Senate Bill 407, State Hires Most Qualified, the status of this bill has not changed since early May. The bill was passed by the House and lingers in the Senate State Government Committee. However, Charest pointed out that this bill should attract supplementary provisions as a result of the much publicized Toomer settlement. She suspected the bill will contain either restrictions on settlements or other provisions intended to prevent political appointments.

Senate Bill 299, Long-term Care, has passed the Senate but has seen no further action in the House. House Bill 1123, the Grievance Procedure bill, has not passed the House or the Senate but remains alive because State appropriations are attached to the bill.

Senate Bill 799, the Discipline Disclosure Act, would make public personnel records of some State employees public in certain situations. This bill has passed the Senate and is currently in the House Public Employees Committee. Charest did not think that further action on this bill was likely this session.

Peter Schledorn recalled that a few years ago legislators had raised concerns about the actuarial soundness and funding levels of the State Retirement System. He was surprised that the Legislature was now discussing reducing the employer contribution to the System while simultaneously proposing an increase in the retirement factor.

Charest replied that the North Carolina Retirement System is on a very sound footing financially. The controversy Schledorn referred to surrounded a proposal that the State’s employer contribution was to be reduced. This proposal brought a great deal of anxiety to State Employees, as they were concerned that this move would endanger the future stability of the Retirement System.

However, the System is extremely sound and the House now can propose a reduction in the employer contribution to the System due to a change in governmental accounting procedures. Because of a shift in governmental accounting practices from book value to market value, the System was forced to do a reevaluation of its assets. Nora Robbins recalled that the result of this reevaluation was an increase in assessed value of over 30%. As a result the Retirement System seems overfunded, which has led to legislative discussions about possible uses for this windfall. Of course, others worry that the value of System assets may have peaked with the stock market, and the System will need to adjust for expected declines in value over time.

Charest thought the reevaluation, and the accompanying windfall, has driven proposals to increase the retirement factor from 1.76 to 1.81 and to reduce employer contribution to the System to fund Employee pay raises. Peter Schledorn thought Charest’s analysis made sense. He recalled a great amount of resistance 10-12 years ago within the Legislature to increasing the retirement factor because of concerns about plan funding levels. He recalled Employees pointing out that the plan was funded, even at that time, at a level beyond most public and private retirement plans.

Schledorn had a question regarding Human Resources’ data about the in-range salary adjustments, particularly the number of adjustments given State-funded & non-State-funded Employees. Does Human Resources have a notion of the kind of funding sources that were used to support these adjustments, and is there a limitation on the types of funding that can be used to fund the in-range increases? In other words, might a State Employee’s adjustment be funded through non-State sources? Charest said the only way to accomplish this would be to make the Employee’s salary split funded from State and non-State sources. If a hypothetical Employee received $20,000 of their salary from State funds, one could make their position split-funded so that a $1,000 adjustment represented a percentage of their time. Human Resources has seen departments make such realignments in salary sources to facilitate in-range adjustments for their Employees. However, in general, in-range adjustments are supported through the Employee’s original salary source. Split-funding could be done, however.

Schledorn thought that Employees were concerned about possible inequity of opportunity to gain in-range adjustments between departments with large percentages of non-State funds, and those with a lesser percentage of such funds. He thought that the former would have a greater ability to manipulate its bookkeeping to realize these adjustments. Charest confirmed that Schledorn wished to compare the percentage of each department’s funding sources—State and non-State—with the number of adjustments given in these different departments. Schledorn thought this comparison would demonstrate if the availability of non-State funds influenced department’s ability to grant in-range adjustments.

Charest thought the comparison may not be so simple, since many departments’ budgets derive different funding sources for faculty and staff salaries. She felt that the University’s direction had been to delegate to departments and schools decisions concerning administration of this program. She thought that a comparison involving just the current staff budget would be valid, as many departments find funding sources from other places. Yet, Charest was unsure how to approach this analysis.

Libby Evans granted that one sign of the ability to implement these adjustments would be changes in salary sources. Yet, while there is a concern about the amount of flexibility departments possess to fund adjustments, she felt the crucial point is whether departments choose to pursue these adjustments, with or without non-State monies.

Schledorn agreed, but did not think this would be the only indication of departmental ability to support adjustments. He thought a department could free up State money by meeting expenses with non-State money. Evans was uncertain about this point and Schledorn conceded it would be very difficult to find out. However, he was still concerned about a possible problem concerning adjustments and State v. Non-State funds, mainly because of the low percentage of adjustments given to the College of Arts & Sciences. Schledorn thought that this difference could lie in the mindset of administrators in these different departments as well.

Charest said that the current analysis reflected departments’ commitments. She recalled Maynard’s point that discussions must consider the population of a department, not just the number of adjustments given, in order to gain an accurate picture of the distribution of adjustments. For example, Arts & Sciences departments in general have very few staff Employees; the majority of campus Employees work elsewhere. So, the fact that Arts & Sciences has a low number of adjustments does not necessarily imply a lower percentage of adjustments. Charest emphasized that some departments contain only two SPA Employees. Schledorn replied that he would be surprised if the Employee cap was that low, and would be interested in the population comparisons.

 

Tommy Brickhouse noted that local legislators at the April SEANC rally had pledged to vote against reducing taxes in order to support existing governmental operations. Yet, some of these legislators voted for a 1% reduction in the sales & food taxes which would in turn affect University budgets. He proposed that the Forum or the Administration raise this question with the local delegation.

In addition, Brickhouse was disturbed by comments about some of the training programs related to Human Resources. He praised Human Resources for its very good clerical and light construction training programs. Graduates from the light construction program are guaranteed interviews with foremen undertaking new building projects for the University.

Jerry Hall conceded that this may be true. However, he recalled that a person “off the street” had been hired over an Employee of his acquaintance with nine years in the hiring department. The person hired was felt to know more about departmental procedure. He could not understand how this had taken place. Charest said that Human Resources would be happy to hear about individual concerns, particularly from those who feel they have been treated unfairly in the hiring process. This person also has access to the grievance procedure. Clearly, Charest said, there are policies that give priority to internal applicants. All of these factors can be investigated once Human Resources knows the specifics of the situation. She could not speak to this situation generally.

Charest noted also the rumor that the Legislature would finish in the first week of July. Members greeted this news with a degree of skepticism.

 

Announcements & Questions

Eddie Capel, recalled that at the April meeting many Delegates were forced to leave early, and thus missed Charest’s unfailingly interesting report. He was uncertain why Laurie Charest and the Human Resources Update was placed as the last item on the agenda. Capel felt the information she provides was some of the most important communicated during the meeting, and so thought it better for her to follow the Chancellor or the Executive Vice Chancellor. Bettye Jones joked that this was the best idea Capel had ever had.

Capel went on to say that he made a point to relate to co-workers items from the Human Resources Update. He made a motion that, if it was agreeable to her, the Forum move the Human Resources Update higher in the agenda so that if Delegates have to leave they will have heard her report. Beverly Williams seconded this motion.

The Chair asked if this was considered a proposal of substance. Members generally felt that it was not. The Forum Assistant noted that the Human Resources Update had been moved to the end of the agenda in 1995 so that members would have a chance to deal with Forum business before being “presentated out” by hearing successively from the Chancellor, Employee Presentations, Special Presentations and then the Human Resources Update. Charest’s report also provides a type of classical symmetry to the Forum’s agenda.

George Sharp pointed out that Charest always takes questions, giving Delegates an opportunity to speak and participate. As long as Delegates continue to raise questions, he did not see a problem with moving Charest towards the front of the agenda.

Peter Schledorn recalled that when the Human Resources Update was held earlier questions were commonly postponed until the end of the meeting. He noted that the Forum’s Committee reports gain from having Charest immediately available to answer questions posed at various times during the meeting. Stephanie Stadler added that as the Forum proceeds through its agenda, issues arise at the beginning or during the Committee reports that may not immediately be addressed. The Chair inferred that Capel’s motion was not meant to ask Charest to report and then depart from the meeting.

The Chair suggested that the Forum try moving the Human Resources Update to the beginning of the agenda without holding a binding vote. Capel agreed to withdraw his motion.

 

George Sharp noted that at the beginning of the year, he learned that his assigned first-year “buddy,” Jeffery Beam, was a published poet. Beam gives readings at different venues across the Triangle. Sharp had asked Beam if he could mention this to the Forum, and Beam said he would be uncomfortable with this recognition unless there were a similar way to recognize other Delagates’ traits and accomplishments. Sharp thought this would be a good idea to improve informal contacts among members of the Forum. He proposed that members could call the Forum Office with special characteristics or hidden talents to be mentioned in the monthly agenda packet. He asked Beam if he could say when his next public reading would be. Beam said that his next reading will be June 15 at the Readery in Durham. Also, he will soon have another book published and available locally.

Having read about the Chancellor and the faculty’s bus tour in May, Eddie Capel proposed that the Forum investigate pursuing a similar tour around the State. He felt it would be a great adventure to interact with citizens across North Carolina and would give North Carolinians a better idea of the important work staff Employees do. Sharp asked if members would receive paid time off for this trip. Capel hoped that they would, but could not say for certain.

In the absence of further discussion, the Chair called for a motion to adjourn. Anne Montgomery so moved, seconded by Cheryl Stout. There was no discussion, and the meeting adjourned at 11:30 a.m.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

 

Matt Banks, Recording Secretary

 

 

 

 

Print Friendly